The 2020 holiday season arrived at Epcot a few days after the rest of Walt Disney World, and much like the recently completed International Food & Wine Festival, this year’s Epcot International Festival of the Holidays offers only a slimmed-down version of the usual event in deference to social distancing. However, there’s still plenty of festive food and fun to be found around both Future World and World Showcase, so come along on our Unofficial Guide to celebrating the season 2020-style at Epcot.
Epcot 2020 Holiday Decorations
Epcot 2020 Holiday Attraction Overlays
Seasonal attraction overlays are most often associated with the Magic Kingdom, but this year Epoct has added Christmas touches to not one but two classic rides.
Journey into Imagination with Figment recently debuted cozy Christmas sweaters on two of the dark ride’s animatronic figures.
The sweater Figment is wearing features the original Imagination pavilion logo, and it makes Epcot’s cutest character even more adorable.
A couple of new costumes can’t correct all the issues old-school Epcot fans have with the current Imagination attraction, but at least their addition did inspire me to ride it again for the first time in over a year!
Right next door at The Land, the greenhouses in the Living with the Land boat ride have been decked out with colorful lights, charming props, and a full complement of Christmas cheer.
This vintage artifact of Disney edutainment is enjoyable at any time of day, but right now you really want to experience it after sunset, when the vibrant lights are flipped on.
Living with the Land has received light overlays during Epcot’s past Flower & Garden and Food & Wine Festivals, but this is the most elaborate seasonal addition the attraction has seen so far.
Enjoy a complete POV cruise through the Living with the Land greenhouses with 2020 holiday decorations in this video:
2020 Taste of the Holidays Live Entertainment
Layoffs and safety restrictions mean that the beloved Candlelight Processional is on pause this year; you also won’t see the familiar storytellers around Epcot’s World Showcase this holiday season, and Santa can only be glimpsed from afar during sporadic socially distanced cavalcades. However, a few fan-favorite musical acts are still around to help ring in the new year.
If you’re looking for the Jammitors (in their Holiday Chef personas), go to the Mill Stage between Canada and the U.K.
The American Gardens Stage is hosting two groups this season. Mexico’s Mariachi Cobre continues to perform here, but now they alternate appearances with the Voices of Liberty, making their much-anticipated return with a show of a cappella holiday classics.
The amphitheater’s amplified sound isn’t as soothing as the acoustic dome inside the American Adventure where the Voices ordinarily echo, but the wide stage gives the unmasked singers much more room to socially distance.
The Voices of Liberty are a must-see part of Epcot’s 2020 holiday celebration, so if you can’t catch them in person, enjoy this complete video of their performance:
2020 Taste of Epcot Holiday Food & Drink
Okay, all that culture is lovely, but if you’re anything like us, you go to an Epcot festival for the food and drink. The 2020 Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Holidays doesn’t offer as many outdoor tasting kiosks as even this year’s slimmed-down Food & Wine Festival had, but there are still plenty of treats to savor as you snack and sip your way around the world.
First, be sure to grab a free Festival Passport at the park entrance, along with a paper park map, which are once again available.
We started our moveable feast with a variety of savory dishes from the West side of World Showcase, starting with a tasty bowl of Hawaiian salmon lomi lomi from Mele Kalikimaka.
In keeping with the seafood theme, the seared scallops found at Yukon Holiday Kitchen outside Canada are perfect paired with parsnip puree and a carmelized hazelnut sauce.
Have you seen the cult-hit melodrama Midnight Diner on Netflix yet? If so, you know that buckwheat noodles are an important element of Japanese New Year’s celebrations. This hot soba noodle soup comes with a ginormous tempura shrimp and is certainly worth slurping.
On the other hand, this chirashi sushi Christmas tree looks better than it eats; the ratio of rice to fish was better balanced in the salmon flower pots served during earlier Epcot festivals.
We fell in love with the climate-controlled World Showplace during the heat of summer, and this hall hidden between Canada and the U.K. is an even better place to stop on a chilly winter day.
Inside, you’ll find a new Frozen-themed photo op, along with live entertainment and a lineup of libations.
The savory offerings in here are led by the delicious duck confit, featuring a substantial portion of bone-in leg and thigh meat alongside roasted brussels sprouts.
While inside World Showcase, be sure to check out this spectacular gingerbread-based model of the U. S. Capitol and National Mall in Washington, D.C.
If seeing that sugary sculpture triggers your sweet tooth, you’ll want to turn to the back page of the Festival Passport and follow this year’s cookie trail.
Purchase the five designated desserts, and get your passport stamped at each location, in order to earn a free sixth sweet from the Holiday Treats kiosk near the middle of the park.
We can vouch for the vegan black & white cookie, which is one of the Hanukkah-inspired items attracting long lines to the new L’Chaim booth between France and Morocco (an ironic location if you know the history of the Jewish diaspora).
The cookie base isn’t bad, considering it’s plant based, and the chocolate and vanilla icings are as delicious as at any deli outside of Zabar’s.
If, even after all that food, you still can’t resist the smell of caramel corn— and cute dust catchers—snag this year’s souvenir popcorn bucket shaped like a Christmas tree, which can be found at the carts outside Canada.
2020 Holiday Merchandise at Epcot
While working your way through your holiday shopping, you can take care of any Christmas-crazy Disney fans on your gift list by visiting Epcot’s holiday marketplace kiosks and gift shops.
Finally, for fans of Epcot’s scavenger hunts (or just Josh Gad’s icy alter ego), the new Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt is now available for $7.99.
For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, or to plan your family’s trip to Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2020.